The beech nuts cracked under my feet and I walked on.  I tried the radio again, “calling all radios.” Silence, but for rain on falling leaves, birds, and beechnuts.  I carried on, spying the path ahead rising slightly to marginally higher ground.  Maybe up there I will make contact. More silence.  I continued on through the coppice and marvelled at the amount of hazel nuts fallen everywhere.  I cut a walking stick here once; a full staff now snapped to a normal length.  In my hand on this day was a light rowan stick.  They say the rowan can keep away witches.  I don’t know any witches.  Maybe it works.

I gave up on radio contact and reverted to a single bar of signal on the phone.  I walked back past a waterfall and pool carpeted with autumn leaves, yellow, red, brown and washed out green.  Back through the coppice pondering how I want to walk here at night, or sleep here.  I want to see this place bathed in silver moonlight and dark shadows.  I stopped at an ancient burial mound to take off my rucksack and eat my lunch, take in the air, sounds, and the rain.  I thought about the three thousand year old bones beneath my feet and wondered what they wondered when they walked here.

A blackthorn was returned to on the way back.  Spied on the walk out and thick with sloes as big and plump as ripe grapes, deep purple and glaucous with wax bloom.  They say that making sloe gin is slow but not laborious.  One year at least, seven is better for complex almond flavours.  I don’t drink gin, so seven years of waiting does not seem so unattainable.  I might have some seven year old fig and vanilla gin in the corner of some cupboard somewhere.  A damp hat was filled, then a lunch bag.  This made me feel better, less guilty, for leaving all the hazelnuts behind.

——-

I held the little lady up to see the nearly full moon rising.  I taught her the name of the moon.  She made a close approximation of the word and seemed pleased with herself.  The voice of the little man broke through the cold autumn air, “the moon is very far away.”  The little lady echoed a reply, “muun, muun, muun.”

——-

In class we encourage our students to make word lists as science seems like another language.  Find the words you don’t know, list them, then find out their meaning.  I feel ashamed that I don’t do this often enough myself and decide to sit down with a poem after the little people are filled with stories and tucked up in bed.

vellum

ceresin

chrism

codling

fetor

hallooing

purblind

dolt

sumac

blear

——- 

One more TV then we all play outside.  Welly boots are put on, we are wrapped up in fleeces.  The lovely Sharon has taken to wearing my fleece now.  The shoulders hang over her slim frame.  Apparently it is more comfortable as it is big enough to keep her warm, her and the new soul unfolding itself inside her.

Above a clear sky the air cools and tightens in the gloaming light. It is still and locks itself around us changing the sound.  The little people laugh and scream and play.  The sound they make in this air is an echo of memories, winter, autumn, playing, laughing, childhood.

The  wood-smoke pours off the roof of the cottage and smells rich and scented.  Old piano smoke.  We were given that piano years ago, rescued from a trip to the dump.  It was a semi-tone out when the piano tuner eventually fought with it to be in tune with itself.  The lovely Sharon played for years until it was time for it to move on.  The lovely Sharon’s sister said no, to keep it for her.  We would keep it until it she was ready to take it.  It filled a corner of the cottage.  We would often look at that piano and think how much space it took up and how we wished she would take it.  We wished it for four years until we gave up.  I cut it up and ripped out the old iron harp, taking it for scrap.  A piano makes such strange sad sounds when it is being taken apart.  The lovely Sharon’s sister visited the other day and remarked at how much space had been freed up by getting rid of it. Now it warms our feet and mixes in the air with shouts and laughter. 

——-

We collected apples from the apple trees and stacked the tubs in the utility room.  The little people keep stealing them and feeding them to the donkey in the back field.  They grab them and run as I shout, “No more apples to the donkey! No more apples to the donkey!”   They run and giggle and laugh with disobedience.

——-

The billhook is sharpened until it is as how I imagine a samurai blade should be.  The field in front of the cottage  has been cleared of sheep so I take the opportunity to climb over the fence and trim the hawthorn hedge, the bits too high for the sheep.  Speed is what is needed with the billhook.  The moon rises slowly with its waning edge just showing, red in the blue sky.  After the trimming I take the little lady away from her toys by the woodstove.  I wrap her up in fleece and welly boots.  In the autumn air she turns and notices as I hoped she would, “muun, muun muun!”

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